Our Program

In the Studio

NIAD’s innovative art program has been in Richmond for nearly 40 years. As NIAD studio artists paint, build sculpture, mold clay, or work with textiles, their skills of observation and project management improve. NIAD artists also have opportunities to take classes in musicdance, and performance.

Mentored by skilled professionals (all of the staff hold a Master of Fine Arts degree and are themselves accomplished artists), NIAD’s artists see and study contemporary art by visiting local galleries, studios and museums. Inspired, they return to the Art Center to create their own work. 

We provide artists with art materials, support from facilitators, and professional development opportunities.

In the Gallery

Opportunities to show their work provide artists with a sense of pride, communication skills, and engagement in contemporary art dialogue. Curators from the Bay Area and beyond collaborate with NIAD studio artists on exhibitions, allowing them to develop professional and ILS (Independent Living Skills) such as speaking and writing about their art. NIAD artwork is professionally documented, cataloged, and marketed to contemporary art audiences.

In the Art World

While working with NIAD’s Arts As Career program, participating studio artists have opportunities to lead workshops, sell at craft fairs, visit museums and give artist talks. While not all of NIAD’s artists receive widespread recognition for their art, all gain a sense of pride from learning a craft and profession of their own. Artists at NIAD earn a 50% commission from the sale of their work and all have sold at least one piece of art per year by participating in our studio program.

In the Community

Our vision is an inclusive community where art makes the individual and their story visible. Visitors and participants alike have described NIAD studio’s environment as inclusive, nurturing, and welcoming. Come see for yourself. Visitors and volunteers are welcome.

Become A NIAD Artist!

A vinyl album by Pat Benatar, Crimes of Passion, is overlaid with white acrylic paint by NIAD Studio Artist Christian Vassell

Interested in joining our studio program? We currently offer Virtual Studio spaces on Zoom and in-person studio spaces in our 23rd Street Art Center five days a week. Contact NIAD’s Interim Community Program Coordinator Amber Avalos, or your RCEB Case Manager. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

Email Amber

Who We Are

Our Theory of Change

Through its studio program, NIAD gives artists with disabilities the skills and experience to express themselves, be independent and earn income as an artist. This nurturing community of artists fosters experimentation, increases competence to make informed choices and increases connections of diverse communities through the commonality of creative expression.

Our Mission 

NIAD promotes creative expression, independence, dignity and community integration for people with disabilities.

Our Vision

An inclusive community where art makes the individual and their story visible.

Our Values

  1. Diversity, inclusivity, and accessibility
  2. Open, straightforward communication
  3. Support, respect, and safe spaces
  4. Our community and the opportunity to work together
  5. Environmental awareness and sustainability
  6. Artistic growth and hard work
  7. Exploration, change, taking risks, and failing forward
  8. Trust, mindfulness, and self-ownership
  9. The needs and perspectives of others
  10. Humor, fun, and joy!

Learn more about NIAD’s staff and Board of Directors.